The Exodus

The Exodus is the charter myth of the Israelites. Spread over the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, it tells the story of the enslavement of the Israelites in ancient Egypt, their liberation through the hand of their tutelary deity Yahweh, the revelations at biblical Mount Sinai, their wanderings in the wilderness up to the borders of Canaan, the land their god has given them, its message is that Israel was delivered from slavery by Yahweh, therefore belongs to him through the Mosaic covenant. The covenant's terms are that Yahweh will protect his chosen people, as long as they will keep his laws and worship him; the Exodus and its laws remain central to Judaism, recounted daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated in festivals such as Passover, as well as resonating with non-Jewish groups, from early American settlers fleeing persecution in Europe to African Americans striving for freedom and civil rights. Jan Assmann refers to it as "the most grandiose and influential story told."The consensus of modern scholars is that the Bible does not give an accurate account of the origins of Israel, which formed as an entity in the central highlands of Canaan in the late second millennium BCE from the indigenous Canaanite culture.

Most scholars believe that the story of the Exodus has some historical basis, but that any such basis has little resemblance to the story told in the Bible. There is a widespread agreement that the composition of the Torah or Pentateuch, the biblical books which contain the Exodus narrative, took place in the Middle Persian Period, although the traditions behind it are older and can be found in the writings of the 8th-century BCE prophets; the story of the Exodus is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the last four of the first five books of the bible. In first book of the Pentateuch, the Book of Genesis, the Israelites had come to live in Egypt in the Land of Goshen during a famine due to the fact that an Israelite, had become a high official in the court of the pharaoh. Exodus begins with the deaths of Joseph and the ascension of a new pharaoh "who did not know Joseph"; the pharaoh becomes concerned by the number and strength of Israelites in Egypt and enslaves them, commanding them to build at two "supply cities" called Pithom and Rameses.

The pharaoh orders the slaughter at birth of all male Hebrew children. One Hebrew child, however, is rescued by being placed in a basket on the Nile, he is adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, who names him Moses. Moses kills an Egyptian he sees beating a Hebrew slave, is forced to flee to Midian, marrying a daughter of the Midianite priest Jethro; the old pharaoh a new one ascends to the throne. Moses, in Midian, goes to Mount Horeb, where Yahweh appears in a Burning Bush and commands him to go to Egypt to free the Hebrew slaves and bring them to the promised land in Canaan. Yahweh speaks to Moses's brother Aaron. Moses and Aaron go to the Pharaoh and ask him to let the Israelites go into the desert for a religious festival, but the Pharaoh refuses and commands the Israelites to make bricks without straw and increases their workload. Moses and Aaron return to the Pharaoh and this time ask him to free the Israelites; the Pharaoh demands for Moses to perform a miracle, Aaron throws down Moses' staff, which turns into a snake.

The Pharaoh refuses to let the Israelites go. After this, Yahweh begins inflicting the Plagues of Egypt on the Egyptians for each time that Moses goes to Pharaoh and Pharaoh refuses to release the Israelites. Pharaoh's magicians are able to replicate the first plagues, in which Yahweh turns the Nile to blood and produces a plague of frogs, but are unable to reproduce any plagues after the third, the plague of gnats. After each plague Pharaoh allows the Israelites to worship Yahweh to remove the plague refuses to free them. In the final plague, Yahweh kills all the firstborn children of Egypt, but the Israelites, who have been commanded to kill one lamb per family and smear its blood on their doorposts, are spared. Yahweh commands that the Israelites observe a festival as "a perpetual ordinance" to remember this event. Pharaoh agrees to let the Israelites go after his firstborn son is killed. Yahweh leads the Israelites in the form of a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night.

However, once the Israelites have left, Pharaoh changes his mind and pursues the Israelites to the shore of the Red Sea. Moses uses his staff to part the Red Sea, the Israelites cross on dry ground, but the sea closes down on the pursuing Egyptians, drowning them all; the Israelites now begin to complain about Aaron and Moses, as Yahweh miraculously provided them first with water and food raining manna down for them to eat. Amalek is defeated in battle. Jethro comes to Moses with Moses's wife and sons; the Israelites reach the Sinai Desert and Yahweh calls Moses to Mount Sinai, where Yahweh reveals himself to his people and establishes the Ten Commandments and Mosaic covenant: the Israelites are to keep his torah, in return he will give them the land of Canaan. Yahweh establishes the Aaronic priesthood and various rules among other laws. However, in Moses's absence the Israelites sin against Yahweh by creating the idol of a golden calf, as retaliation Yahweh has the Levites kill three thousand people and Yahw

Class 951 Shinkansen

The Class 951 was an experimental Japanese Shinkansen train built to test the technology for future high-speed trains operating at speeds of up to 250 km/h following the opening of the Tokaido Shinkansen in 1964. The Class 951 train was a two-car unit formed of cars numbered 951-1 and 951-2. Car 951-1 was built by Kawasaki Sharyo, had a seating capacity of 40 with seats arranged 3+2 abreast. Car 951-2 was built by Nippon Sharyo, had a seating capacity of 50 with seats arranged 3+2 abreast. 951-1 951-2 Both cars were fitted with a cross-arm type pantograph at the inner end. Both were based on the PS200 type used on the 0 Series Shinkansen trains, but the pantograph on car 951-1 was designated PS9010K, that on car 951-2 was designated PS-1010A. Only the pantograph on car 951-2 was used; the train was unveiled to the press on 26 March 1969, with formal test running commencing on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen from 2 July 1969. On 24 February 1972, the Class 951 recorded a world speed record of 286 km/h on the Sanyo Shinkansen between Himeji and Nishi-Akashi, breaking the previous record of 256 km/h set by the Class 1000 Shinkansen.

The train was formally withdrawn on 11 April 1980. Car 951-2 was transferred to the Railway Technical Research Institute in Kokubunji, where it was used for roller rig testing. Car 951-1 was donated to the nearby Hikari Plaza Community Centre in 1994, where it is open to the public. Car 951-2 was subsequently stored out of use inside the Railway Technical Research Institute, was cut up in 2008. Kokubunji Hikari Plaza information

Oswald Lange

Oswald Hermann Lange was a German-American aerospace engineer and member of the "von Braun rocket group". He contributed to early military aerospace projects, including the V-2 and Wasserfall, became project director of Saturn V. Lange earned his master's degree from the University of Breslau and PhD from Berlin Institute of Technology, he worked at Peenemünde from 1940 to 1945 on guidance and control aspects of the V-2 ballistic missile and the Wasserfall surface-to-air missile. After World War II, he worked at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, but emigrated to the US in 1954, working at Martin Aircraft. In 1959, he became head of the Saturn project office, he retired in 1977